Biography of Samuel C. Varner

Samuel C. Varner, a retired banker and merchant at Moran, is a veteran of the Civil war, and was one of the earliest business men to locate in Moran.

His paternal ancestors came out of Germany and were colonial settlers in Pennsylvania. Samuel C. Varner was born in Pennsylvania at Monongahcla on December 10, 1845. His grandfather, John Varner, was born in the eastern part of that state at Lancaster, was a cabinet maker by trade, was a soldier in the War of 1812, and spent most of his years at Monongahela City and at Pittsburg. He married Elizabeth McKnight, of Maysville, Kentucky. She died at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

John McKnight Varner, father of Samuel C., was born at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, March 26, 1817. He spent his early life at Pittsburg, was married at Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, and then lived for a number of years at Monongahela City. In early life he was a glass blower by trade, subsequently became a merchant, and in March, 1857, he came west and located at Canton in Fulton County, Illinois. After coming to Illinois he followed the trade of painter. In 1867 he went to Bushnell, Illinois, and that city was his home the rest of his life. However, he died while on a visit to Moran, Kansas, in October, 1895. He was laid to rest at his old home in Bushnell. Though quite an old man at the time he did a gallant service as a soldier in the Union army during the Civil war. He enlisted in 1862 in the One Hundred and Third Illinois Infantry and was in service three years, three months. He was with his regiment in the hard fought battles of Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Chiekamauga and Kenesaw Mountain and was present for duty at all times with his regiment until detailed to take charge of a hospital in Chattanooga. This service prevented him from marching with Sherman to the sea. He was a loyal republican, in early life belonged to the Methodist Church, and was affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. John M. Varuer married Lucinda Collins. She was of Welsh ancestry, the family having located in Virginia in colonial times. She was born August 27, 1819, and died in Bushnell, Illinois, November 10, 1901. The children of these parents were: William Hughs, who died in infancy; Elizabeth Frances, who lives at Freeport, Illinois, is twice a widow, her first husband, Henry Shoup, having been a merchant, and her second husband, Jacob Weaver, was a farmer and later served as city marshal, and game warden at Bushnell, Illinois. Wilson Thompson, who died at Bushnell, Illinois, was a veteran of the Civil war and afterwards a coal mine owner and operator. Samuel C., who was the fourth in age; Melissa, who died in 1915, wife of W. T. Bell, a carriage maker living at Canton, Illinois; Edward, a painter and merchant, who died at Colony, Kansas; Thomas, who died in infancy; John J., a merchant and now serving as mayor of Iola, Kansas; Anna Virginia, wife of George Seldomridge, a merchant at Seattle, Washington; Homer M., who had a restaurant at Moran, Kansas; and Olive June, wife of William Morgan, a painter living at Wichita, Kansas.

Samuel C. Varner lived in his native city of Monongahela City, Pennsylvania, until he was about twelve years of age. He began his education in the public schools there. After that he lived in Canton, Illinois, until he enlisted in May, 1862, in the Sixty-seventh Regiment of Illinois Infantry. During that enlistment he served four months and was mustered out. In 1864 he returned to the army, this time as first lieutenant of Company B, One Hundred and Forty-eighth Illinois Infantry. He then remained in the service until finally mustered out September 5, 1865.

After the war Mr. Varner became a merchant at Kirkwood, Illinois, and in 1867 removed to Bushnell, where he continued merchandising for one year. He spent three years as a merchant at Des Moines, Iowa, was a farmer in Adair County in that state five years, and returning to Illinois continued farming in McLean County for about five years.

Mr. Varner came to Kansas and located at Colony in April, 1880. He was in the lumber and hardware business there until 1883 and since the latter year his home had been at Moran. He established himself in the lumber and hardware business, built up a large trade, and his successful efforts as a merchant brought him many close connections with the business and civic life of the community. He established and owned the People’s State Bank, served as its president, but retired from that office in 1912. Mr. Varner owned his home at the corner of Cedar and Third streets, and is now enjoying a well-earned leisure.

He is a member of the Christian Church. He had always taken much interest in Masonry, and organized the Marmaton Lodge No. 245 and the Colony Lodge, and was the first master of each of these bodies. He also belongs to Zion Chapter No. 24, Royal Arch Masons, at Garnett, Kansas, and to Esdraelon Commandery No. 49, Knights Templar. Another fraternal relationship is with Moran Lodge No. 240, Ancient Order of United Workmen.

In the intervals of his service in the Union army, on September 27, 1863, at Farmington, Illinois, Mr. Varner married Miss Annie McCord, daughter of Thomas Jefferson and Mary (Layton) McCord. Her father was a farmer in Knox County, Illinois.


Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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